Choosing an On-Camera Monitor


While many people start by looking for a monitor within a specific price range, you may be better served by defining which features you need in a monitor before you consider price. This way, you will most likely get a better overall understanding of the value of the features, which will better fit your workflow. Spending a little extra time now will help you choose an on-camera monitor that will serve you a lot better and for a lot longer than a monitor you chose just based on price.

There are many different manufacturers’ on-camera monitors available at B&H, in a wide range of features and sizes. This may make choosing one on-camera monitor a daunting task, even when selecting from a single manufacturer’s lineup.

Monitor or Monitor/Recorder Combination

One of the first criteria to consideration is whether you want just a monitor or a monitor/recorder combination. Advantages of a monitor/recorder combination are that you can create high-quality recordings that your camera’s internal recorder may not be able to match. You are also assured that you will get the same recording file no matter what camera you use, and this can pay off when you are in the editing room. Additionally, a monitor/recorder combination is going to have built-in monitoring features and image tools that you may find useful when shooting. Not all non-recording on-camera monitors will have these features.

Atomos Shogun 4K Monitor/Recorder

Size and Weight Matter

Once you sort out which way you want to go, the next most important feature to evaluate is size. For the most part, an on-camera monitor serves as a more flexible viewing screen that is larger than your camera’s view screen or EVF, and one you can position independently of the camera itself. This allows you to use it as a composition and framing aid. Your monitor choice will most likely depend on how big a screen you need, or feel comfortable using. Remember that the bigger the on-camera monitor, the more you will have to move your head to see around the monitor. Taking into consideration the size and weight of an onboard monitor, the 5 to 7" monitors are generally preferred, with other sizes being useful mounted off the camera and in special applications. You will most likely be able to find similar monitoring and image tool options such as peaking, false color, histogram, waveform, parade, and Vectorscope in the 5 to 7" range. One thing to note is that there is now a full-featured 5" view screen that can be converted to an eyepiece-type viewfinder, similar to using a loupe on a DSLR’s screen, something that just isn’t going to work with a 7" screen.

Weight is often overlooked, until you’ve mounted the monitor and are shooting handheld all day. You definitely want to consider the weight of the monitor, and how you will mount it. The more weight, the more quickly you will get fatigued, and with fast camera moves, a heavy monitor may shift and upset your balance.

Inputs, Signal Format, and Frame Rate

Now that you’ve established what size monitor/recorder or simple monitor you need, some things to consider are how important multiple inputs/outputs, signal cross-conversion, and video scopes with image evaluation tools are to you. If you just need a run-and-gun rig, with a more flexible view screen than the one on your camera, then extra inputs/outputs and cross-conversion are most likely not necessary for you at this stage of the game. Something you will want to check with is the frame rate that your monitor supports, as cameras are now outputting a variety of frame rates. Since you are looking for an on-camera monitor, and weight is an issue, you want to avoid using a frame-rate converter if you can.

If you are working on more organized shoots, you will probably find it useful for your monitor to have a loop-through output so you can pass the signal on to other equipment. SDI is considered the professional standard, and HDMI, found on DSLRs, is considered more of a consumer standard, although it can be found on camcorders and even some high-end cameras. If you do opt for a monitor with both HDMI and SDI connectors, on-camera monitors that offer cross conversion between the two standards is becoming more commonplace and easier to find.

Connectors along the bottom of the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+ Monitor/Recorder



Here is where the monitor’s resolution will make a difference. You may feel that it is necessary to have Full HD resolution, and 1920 x 1080 panels are becoming more available in 5 and 7" sizes. Most monitors with lower resolution will scale your video for display, allowing you to see the entire frame.  This may introduce scaling artifacts, but it is doubtful that a scaling artifact, unless it is glaring, will disturb you when operating the shot. Where the resolution will make a difference is when you are reviewing your footage. Seeing the entire frame without scaling artifacts is nice, and most lower-resolution monitors provide a 1:1 Pixel mode that allows you to view parts of your image at full resolution. It may be a while before we see 4K on-camera displays, as there is some disagreement as to the smallest screen size that allows you to see 4K resolution but, most likely, your camera will provide a downscaled 1920 x 1080 output.

Image Evaluation Tools and Scopes

Unless you are only looking for the minimal monitor to use as a viewfinder, you may want to have peaking for focus, and exposure tools such as false color and Zebra bars. 1:1 pixel capability and zoom are important, and if you can read scopes, waveform, Vectorscope, and parade, they can be invaluable for objectively evaluating your video signal.

Atomos Ninja Blade Monitor/Recorder displaying RGB Parade, Time Code, On-Screen Menu, and Playback Controls

At this point, it is probably a good idea to consider your budget. It may just be that you can find all the features you want in an on-camera monitor for less than you were prepared to spend, or you may realize that the features you thought you needed just aren’t important right now. Then again, you may find that there are some killer features that are worth the investment. In either case, by considering the features that are important to you before you consider price, you will be able to evaluate the monitors based on their value to you, not just on how much they cost.

Things to Know

Now that we’ve had a general overview of the important features of an on-camera monitor, you will find a more specific explanation of terms that apply to monitors.

HDMI versus SDI versus Component & Composite

Composite  is a standard-definition signal only, and is still available from some cameras.

Component Video  is a better signal transmission system than Composite, as it breaks the signal into luminance (green) and red and blue. Component signals can be either Standard Definition or High Definition.

HDMI  is an uncompressed all-digital audio/video interface for transferring uncompressed video data and compressed or uncompressed digital audio data from an HDMI-compliant source device. HDMI is generally considered a consumer interface, but it has made inroads into the professional world. Generally speaking, even when using a good-quality cable, an HDMI signal will degrade and become unusable after about 49 feet, which limits your cable runs without using a signal repeater. HDMI is not interchangeable with SDI signals, although there are converters available, and some monitors will cross-convert from HDMI to SDI.

SDI  Serial Digital Interface is a professional signal standard. It is generally classified as SD, HD, or 3G-SDI, depending on the transmission bandwidth it supports. SD refers to Standard-Definition signals, HD-SDI refers to High-Definition signals up to 1080/30p, and 3G-SDI supports 1080/60p SDI signals. With SDI signals, the better the cable, the longer the cable run can be before signal degradation renders the signal unusable. Select high-quality cables can support 3G-SDI signals up to 390 feet and SD-SDI signals to more than 2,500 feet. SDI signals are not compatible with HDMI signals, although signal converters are available and some monitors will cross-convert from SDI to HDMI

Cross-Conversion  is a process that converts the video signal from one format to another.

Loop Through  Loop through outputs take the input to the monitor and pass it through unchanged. This is useful when you want to feed a monitor and send the signal farther to other devices, such as the video village or a director’s monitor.

Touchscreen versus Front-Panel Buttons

Touchscreen panels can be very useful, making it simple to interface with your device. Some monitors feature touchscreens for menu navigation and selection. Often, touchscreens are found on monitor recorders—most touchscreens are capacitive, which require contact with your skin. This is probably not going to be an issue, except in the cold if you are wearing gloves.

Monitors with front-panel buttons tend to be larger than their touch-panel counterparts, but the buttons and knobs allow you to work more easily with them while wearing gloves.

RF Receiver

Usually found built into monitors designed for First Person Viewing (FPV) RF receivers are often used with remote cameras, such as those mounted on a drone or quadcopter. These monitors are more often than not standard definition, although some may use higher-resolution screens. The Radio Frequency (RF) signal is analog as opposed to digital, as most analog monitors tolerate signal loss better than digital monitors do.

To LUT or Not to LUT

LUT stands for Look-up Table, and allows you to alter the way a monitor will display the video. This feature is often found on a monitor/recorder and it allows you to apply image and color space conversion when displaying flat or low-contrast log gamma video without affecting the video recording or signal. Some monitors allow you to choose to apply no LUT, the same LUT, or a different LUT to the output of the monitor, which can be useful when recording downstream, or sending the video to another monitor.

Atomos Assassin with LUT menu screen

Viewing Angle

Viewing Angle can become very important, as the camera operator may shift his/her position relative to the monitor during the shot. A wide viewing angle allows the operator to have a clear, easy-to-see image as their position shifts. A narrow viewing area may make the image on the monitor appear to shift in color/contrast as you change your position relative to the monitor, which may make viewing the footage/operating the camera difficult. In the world of LCD-panel technologies, IPS panels offer the best viewing angles, with angles up to 178 degrees.

Contrast Ratio and Brightness

Monitors with high contrast ratios and brightness tend to display a more pleasing image. They also become much easier to see in exteriors where you may normally have reflections and glare from the sun or sky. However, even high-contrast/brightness monitors may benefit from using a sun hood of some kind.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article, and that it has clearly identified some of the steps in the process of choosing an on-camera monitor.

Items discussed in article


can I use other than Atmos brand for 4K 10bit raw on Nikon Z6?

Hi Sandip - 

Yes.  Currently this is our sole recommendation.

What would you recommend for the Sony A7?

Andycine offers a great monitor.  You could even get an NP-FW50 Dummy Battery that will allow you to power the camera off of the battery powering the monitor.

Andycine A6 -
Andycine NP-FW50 -

What would you recommend for the Canon EOS R?

The Atomos Ninja V is a great option for a Recording Monitor.  While Lilliput make nice options for a basic monitor only, like the Lilliput A7S.

Ninja V - BH #ATNINJAV -
Lilliput A7S - B&H # LIA7SB -


Hi.  I have the Nikon D810 and I am looking for an external monitor that will allow me to touch screen and for it to focus my camera.  Will the Atmos Ninja 4K monitor allow me to do that even though my NikonD810's screen does not and I have to use the Focus On button instead.  I look forward to your advice. 

Hi, I double checked with Atomos, and they confirmed that none of their monitors can control the focus of the camera. Thanks for asking,

Can you recommend an on-camera monitor (monitor only, not monitor/recorder) for a Sony FDR AX700 camcorder?

The Feelword 5.7" monitor is a great choice for the AX700, BH #FEFWF6.


This might be a shot in the dark BUT - is there a monitor that exists which is similar to the C200's monitor? I'm looking to buy a c200B and a monitor that will allow me to tap to focus versus having to use the cannon app for this. Any recommendations from the B&H team?

The only touch screen option for the C200 is the Canon LM-V1 monitor made specifically for it.  We do have a C200B kit which includes that monitor, BH #CAC200BAK.


I am looking for a small 5 to 10 inch monitor that can run off my camera’s power if possible – I have a Canon 80D. I would like something that has HDMI passthrough so I can see the video on top of my camera as it is shooting, and also route it to my video monitors.  Is there anything that fits this category?  Thanks for any advice! 

Hi Gretchen - 

On camera monitors would use their own power supply, so as not to draw power from the camera and possibly render the camera unusable or leaving it with limited power.

The A7S 7" Full HD Monitor with black rubber case from Lilliput (B&H # LIA7SB)  features an HDMI 1.4 input, making it suitable for UHD 4K filmmaking and photography. With a 16:10 aspect ratio and 1000:1 contrast ratio, the LCD panel displays Full HD images. The HDMI loop-through function allows you to output via HDMI to any other compatible device.

If you have upgraded to the 4K workspace, the A7S offers control over your shooting workflow both in the field and studio. You can create shortcuts to your favorite and most used monitor functions using the two customizable function keys. You can mount the monitor onto your camera by attaching the included shoe mount adapter to the 1/4"-20 threads at the bottom. You can also use the VESA 75 hole at the back to attach the A7S to other mounts.

UHD 4K compatible
Advanced functions such as timecode, columnar YRGB, pixel zoom, vectorscope, audio level meters, peaking, false color, histogram, exposure, check fields, color bars, pixel-to-pixel, and image flip
Includes battery plates for Canon LP-E6 and Sony F-970
Includes AC adapter

I have a Sony FS5 and am interested in using an external monitor to start shooting SLOG3. I am interested in a monitor that has things like waveform monitoring and focus assist tools, and that has pre-installed LUTs. Could you please recommend monitors that can record that have these functions that work well with the FS5, as well as monitors that would be display only that have these functions? Thanks!

The Ninja Inferno is a great choice for the FS5, especially if you have the RAW Upgrade.  This is a recording monitor that offers S-Log Luts along with things like Waveform, Vectorscope, Focus and Exposure Tools.

For a monitor only SmallHD offers great options with a very rich tool set of included.  The SmallHD 702 Lite will also have all the things you need, in a monitor only.


Hi, Thanks for the advice. Regarding the Ninja monitor, when you shoot SLOG3 and apply a LUT, does the monitor record the picture with the LUT? Or, are you just viewing the LUT on the monitor, and have to place it on the filmed footage in post-production? Thanks!

Hi Paul -

The Atomos Ninja Inferno will apply the chosen LUT to the recording.

Hi Joseph, What is the benefit of the Smallhd 502 bright vs the Smallhd 502? Is it that the bright model allows for better viewing in daylight?


That is the difference.  The 502 Bright is 1000 Nits, compared to 400 Nit on the 502 Model.  The Bright is much brighter for use outside.


So does an external monitor that records mean you basically have a backup recording? As in, you can be recording to two different SD cards at the same time? Even if you're recording on something like a Sony a7sii??

Can anyone explain if the Atomos monitors would enhance the Sony A7 III camera in any way? I know the A7 III does not shoot in 4K 60FPS so I'm curious about how this monitor would enhance the camera (if at all). Thanks!

What would you suggest to use with a Panasonic HC-x1 camcorder? . I find the settings readouts unreadable on the monitor due to the size of them, I have a Lilliput 7 inch  which works well but does not offer any focus or exposure aids and of course does not record either

The Ninja Inferno would be a great choice.  It is a recording monitor that will work with the HC-X1 that is bright at 1500 nit and has a wealth of focus and exposure tools built in to the unit.


I shoot old tech. I have a (several) Nikon D2X cameras. I would like to leverage the capabilities of Atomos record/image/storage tools while tethering during shoots. My camera outputs tether via USB. Id there a converter that will allow me to shoot tethered mode and output to Atomos gear? Nikon D2X rear screen is terrible, other camera functions meet my needs and let me spend money on peripherals (lenses/lighting/software/computers). I would really like a small form factor m0ntior that will let me use my current and other "vintage" gear. thanks for any help you can provide.

Unfortunately, the Nikon D2X lacks any sort of connection to allow an external monitor to be used when shooting.  There is an A/V out connection but that is merely for playback on a larger monitor, particularly a TV.  The best thing you could do is tether via USB using the Tether Tools TetherPro USB 2.0 Type-A to 5-Pin Mini-USB Cable (Orange, 15') B&H # TECU5451 from a laptop that is running the Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.0 Software B&H # NICCSWP2FV.

Hello, I have a BMPCC 4k and i use that camera for filming. Ninja V is good, but i need another option, what monitor would you suggest?


If you are looking for a solid monitor only and not something that can record the SmallHD 701 is a great choice for the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.  This will give you a 7" screen and has SmallHD's fantastic Page Builder Interface.  It will connect to the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K through HDMI.


I'm shooting a Nikon D500 and wonder if there is significant advantage to using the Atomos Ninja V for recording? I've seen recommendations for the Flame but the Ninja V obviously has better specs especially if it's going to give me better recording options. What are your recommendations please?

You can use either the Ninja V or Ninja Flame with the Nikon D500.  However the D500 is only able to output 4K at up to 30fps.  The Ninja V's advantage of going up to 60fps in 4K does not benefit a D500 user.  The Ninja Flame only records 4K at up to 30fps, you will be getting the most you can out of the D500 with the Ninja Flame.  That being said, you may prefer the small 5" monitor.

Ninja Flame -

Ninja V -


So I’m shooting a H6D-100c at the beach it is very tough to use a 15” laptop. Is there an external monitor that’s compatible with H6D for focusing shooting stills? The H6D screen on back is nice (920k) but I need to loop it to see focus and this is sometimes really difficult balancing on rocks in the watergate very low positions to place my loop against the rear screen! I know zero about external monitors.



Yes, you may use live view using an external LCD monitor connected to the camera's HDMI terminal as indicated on page 122 of the Hasselblad H6D-100c Medium Format DSLR Camera's instruction manual.  If you are looking for an external monitor recommendation, the Atomos Ninja V 5" 4K HDMI Recording Monitor, B&H # ATNINJAV, the SmallHD 5.5" FOCUS OLED Monitor (HDMI), B&H # SMFOMTS, or the SmallHD 502 Bright Value Bundle, B&H # SM502BF2018, would work as good monitor options for your usage needs.  For more information, you can see the following link by either clicking directly on it or by copying and pasting the link into your internet browser's address bar:


I am looking for a 4k monitor that will let me view what i am recording from the monitor in 4k. Which monitor will allow me that option? I have a monitor attached to my Lumix FZ300 and it only lets me view my camera screen on the monitor only with 1080p, but its says 4k on the monitor.

At this time the on-camera monitors we sell do not offer a screen resolution that is 4K quality.  We have plenty of options that will allow you to view a 4K signal, but the screen is only 1920x1080 or 1920x1200.  The reason for this has to do with that a 5" or 7" screen really does not see any major benefit in how the image looks to be displayed at 4K.   The amount of pixels and the screen size is optimal for HD resolutions.



Im curious, are external monitors mainly for video? Is there really any use for them in still photography? 


While external monitors are more common for video use, there are some instances where they might be used for still applications. An example would be when you need to have critical focus with a manual focus lens, particularly with adapted lenses. 

Thanks for your reply!

So having auto focus lenses makes external monitors useless? Unless using a macro lens or something? I was thinking of getting one for landscape photography but there really isn't that much use for that either then.


Most people do not use an external monitor for still photography usage; they would prefer to tether the computer to a laptop or computer for a larger view, especially as computers can use tethering software that can also control the camera from the computer.  However, if you are planning on using an external monitor and you have autofocus lenses, as long as the lenses and/or the camera is set to "AF" for autofocus mode, you would be able to autofocus when using the lenses with the external monitor.

Hello, I have a Nikon D7200 and starting to film airshows. What monitor would you suggest using with great focus and quality build? Or should I go camcorder for that type of shooting?



Hi Sean,

You can certainly use your Nikon D7200 to shoot video with the help of the Elvid FieldVision 4KV2 7" On-Camera Monitor B&H # ELOCM7B4KV2, which connects via HDMI.

Thank you so much for your input. I was on the fence about buying a camcorder instead, but with my budget, I have to make do with what I have. Do you suggest a specific rig so I can connect the monitor and mic?

Cages are a great option to attach accessories to a camera like the Nikon D7200.   B&H # CAC1726 is the Camvate Dual-Use Adjustable Cage Kit.   The cage comes with a shoe mount along with 1/4"-20 threads which you can also use to attach accessories.  Articulating Arms, such as B&H # EIEIA52 , are very good for attaching accessories to a cage.

Cage -
Articulating Arm -


Hi, I have d750 and plan to upgrade to Z6 in the near future. What would you recommend? I'd use it on d750 mostly for focus peaking. It would be nice if it fit on Ronin S gimbal

If you are looking for a recording monitor recommendation for use with both the Nikon D750 DSLR camera and the Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Digital Camera, I would recommend the Atomos Ninja V 5" 4K HDMI Recording Monitor, B&H # ATNINJAV, as a good option for your usage needs.  If you do not need an external recorder, and you only want an external monitor, the SmallHD Focus Black Friday Bundle, B&H # SMFBFB, and the Elvid 7" 4K On-Camera Monitor with Battery, Articulating Arm, and HDMI Cable Kit, B&H # ELOCM7B4KV2C, would be a good option for your usage needs.  All of the above monitors offer focus peaking as a feature, and the SmallHD and Elvid monitors come with the Micro-HDMI cable needed for use with the Nikon Z6 DSLR camera.  For use the Nikon Z6 with the Atomos Ninja, the Pearstone HDD-103 High-Speed HDMI to Micro-HDMI Cable with Ethernet (3'), B&H # PEHDD03, would be a Micro-HDMI cable available for your purchase needs, and for use with the Nikon D750 with the Atomos and Elvid monitors, the Pearstone Active Braided High Speed Mini HDMI to HDMI Cable with Ethernet - 3' (0.9 m), B&H # PEHDC03ABRD, would work for your usage needs.  To connect the D750 to the SmallHD monitor, the 8Sinn eXtraThin Micro-HDMI Male to Mini-HDMI Male Cable (31.5"), B&H # 8S8XTHMNMICR, would work for your usage needs.  Finally, to connect all of the above to the DJI Ronin-S, the SIMPLY GIMBAL FMJ Handheld Gimbal Adapter for Mounting Monitors, Microphones, and Accessories, B&H # SIFMJ1,  would be a great accessory for your usage needs.

Hi, I have D5300 and mostly using it for video and live streaming. What would be the best option to use specially when using video for streaming? I use Magewell USB capture HDMI Plus for streaming. Sometimes, the mini HDMI from the camera is losing connection thats why I'm thingking to have the monitor and then from the ,monitor I will connect it to my streaming device. Please help. Thank you.   

Rather than adding additional links in to this chain, it is probably a better idea to look at purchasing a better solution for an HDMI cable.   I would instead purchase a Pearstone 5" Right Angle HDMI Mini (Type C) Male to HDMI (Type A) Female Adapter Cable.  This adapter will take stress and strain off of using just a Mini HDMI to HDMI cable right out of the camera and right angle is a bit more secure.  From there you can use a regular HDMI to HDMI cable.

HDMI Cable:


Don't care about recording options as much, what would be a great monitor with the tools peaking, LUTs showing, histogram, waveform, and aspect ratio guides? HDMI and SDI conversion. I want to get best image of what is coming out of camera. Please help.

The SmallHD 502 has everything you listed in a monitor only, B&H # SMMON502.  It has the richest selection of tools on the market, including LUTS, histograms, waveform, aspect ratio guides and more.  It does HDMI to SDI cross conversion as well.


Im looking for a Monitor for my Canon 5d Mark 4. I use this camera for Low Budget Video Work like Interviews, Music Videos, Documentaries... What I want mostly is Lut, Peaking and Brightness (it would be nice if I could record a better quality but the output on the 5dmk4 is limited).

I rent bigger Cameras mostly RED for bigger jobs and I would like to use the Monitor then too. 

My Budget is around 1000$ 

My first thougt was the Blackmagic 4k Video Assist? What would you recommend? 

I have the URSA MINI, i need a bright monitor because i use my camera in exteriors, what monitor do you recomend me?

The Ursa Mini has an SDI output for monitoring.  A great choice that has SDI is the MustHD Hyper-Brite, B&H # MUM703S, which offers 2200 Nits of brightness.  This is a fantastic choice for shooting outside with.


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